Publishedduration1 hour agoimage copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionThe Gaza Strip suffers from shortages of essential items, including medical supplies

Rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the Gaza Strip threaten to overwhelm the Palestinian territory's healthcare system within days, experts warn.

Of Gaza's 100 ventilators, 79 are already taken up by Covid-19 patients, said Abdelraouf Elmanama, of the enclave's pandemic task force.

Densely populated Gaza, with two million residents and high levels of poverty, is vulnerable to contagion.

On Sunday the health ministry reported 684 new cases and three more deaths.

It has recorded more than 14,000 coronavirus cases and 65 deaths in total.

"In 10 days the health system will become unable to absorb such a hike in cases and there might be cases that will not find a place at intensive care units," said Mr Elmanama.

Abdelnaser Soboh, emergency health co-ordinator in the World Health Organization's Gaza office, warned that "within a week, we will become unable to care for critical cases".

  • Gazans struggle with pandemic and blockade
  • Read more about the Palestinian territories

Gaza is subject to a longstanding land, sea and air blockade by Israel and Egypt that has devastated its economy and impaired its public health system.

Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade in 2007 when the Palestinian group Hamas reinforced its control over the territory. The two countries say the blockade is for self-defence.